IN what was a cracking first game of the Simply Energy WAFL Colts Competition of 2019, East Fremantle defeated Claremont by two points at Claremont Oval. The final quarter proved to be a see-sawing contest between both teams, but ultimately the Sharks prevailed by that narrow margin of two points.
Below were the best players from each team.
#4 Marc Boyatzis
Stationed in the back pocket Boyatzis held his own, especially when East Fremantle started to dominate stages of the game. He finished the game with 12 possessions, three marks, two tackles and two inside 50s to arguably be the Tigers’ best defender. His intercept ability combined with his smart decision-making makes him a damaging rebounder, and his excellent lock-down mindset marks him as a tough opponent.
#5 Ronin O’Connor
The Marist junior was a bull in the midfield for the Tigers, often throwing himself into stoppages to win the ball for his team. He collected 20 possessions and laid an equal game-high nine tackles as he tried to give Claremont the ascendancy around the stoppages.
#8 Jack Buller
Playing centre half-forward, Buller always presents well for his midfielders to kick it to him. His leading patterns, strong hands, decision-making and skill execution were all on display for recruiters to see. The Cottesloe junior collected 12 possessions, grabbed four marks, laid three tackles and booted a goal in a solid first hit-out.
#11 Thomas Baldwin
The 2018 WA Under 18s representative showcased why Claremont’s coaching staff rate him highly. Playing as a small forward, Baldwin booted two goals from 19 possessions, as well as laying six tackles and taking three marks. His energy and class around the forward half stoppages were pivotal in keeping the Tigers in the contest.
#12 Joel Western
The Subiaco junior was electrifying on the half-forward flank for the Tigers, finishing the game with 19 possessions, four tackles, two inside 50s and a goal. Available to Fremantle as an Next Generation Academy (NGA) prospect in 2020, Western used his speed, evasiveness and skills to carve his way through East Fremantle’s defensive zones. He is already shaping up as a high draft prospect for next year.
#15 Liam Henry
The Derby product demonstrated why he is so highly touted in this year’s draft pool, especially by Fremantle who can select him under their Next-Generation Academy. Henry displayed his offensive flair and defensive soundness in a very well-rounded performance. He gathered 16 possessions, laid eight tackles, grabbed seven marks, recorded three inside 50s and kicked a magnificent goal in the second quarter, when he roved a pack inside 50 and snapped it through.
#22 Jye Clark
The younger brother of Geelong’s rising star Jordan, Jye Clark displayed similar traits to his brother – he was highly skilful, made sound decisions with ball in hand, and was always taking on the game. He collected 19 possessions, laid four tackles and recorded two inside 50s as he rotated between the half-back line and the wing.
#2 Michael Wright
The Chapman Valley junior was sensational for the Sharks and was a key player in their victory. He gathered 23 possessions, laid an equal game-high nine tackles, took five marks, and recorded four inside 50s to be one of the best players for East Fremantle. His fierce attack on both the ball and man was superb.
#10 Trent Rivers
The East Fremantle captain led from the front for the Sharks. He amassed a game-high 26 possessions, took five marks, laid five tackles and recorded three inside 50s, playing between half-back and the midfield. He used his big frame to win crucial possessions, and his elite decision-making, vision and skill execution helped his team get the ball forward. He is already cementing himself as one of WA’s best draft prospects for 2019.
#16 Chad Warner
The Willetton junior was prolific in the midfield for East Fremantle with 24 possessions, seven tackles, three marks, three inside 50s and a goal. Warner plays in a similar way to Adelaide star Brad Crouch, as a player who is tough, skilful and prolific. His desire to win the contested ball before dishing it to the outside runners was pivotal for the Sharks’ victory.
#18 Chris Walker
The Fremantle NGA prospect convincingly proved why he is one of the best half-back flankers in this year’s Simply Energy WAFL Colts Competition. Against the Tigers, Walker held his opponents to minimal impact, while he provided damage on the offence. His desire to take the game on with his skill and speed was fantastic to see.
#20 Brandon Walker
The 2018 WA U16s All-Australian was excellent for the Sharks, showing why he is so highly rated for the 2020 AFL Draft. He used his crisp disposal and electrifying speed from the half-back line to torch the Tigers. He finished with 11 possessions, five marks and three tackles.
#23 Luke Jackson
The former Australian Junior National basketballer put together a performance that indicated why many draft experts see him as a potential first round draft pick. He gathered 11 possessions, won a game-high 36 hit-outs and laid three tackles to be the most imposing ruckman on the ground.
#24 Trey Ruscoe
The Booragoon junior was arguably the most important player for the Sharks, especially in the last quarter when he booted two goals to give the Sharks the lead. In the 19th minute of the final quarter he managed to tap the ball to himself, burst away from his direct opponent and then drill the goal that reduced the margin to just four points. Two minutes later, he did an excellent lead pattern and found himself in space to take a pivotal mark inside 50. He then kicked the goal to give the Sharks to lead. His final statistics were 20 possessions, six inside 50s, five marks, four tackles and two goals.
#25 Jai Jackson
The Geraldton product was his combative self in the midfield. He gathered 17 possessions, laid seven tackles, recorded four inside 50s and took two marks to be one of the Sharks’ better midfielders. His ability to win the contested ball within congestion and feed it out to his outside runners was elite.